Generally favorable reviews - based on 39 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 31 out of 39
  2. Negative: 0 out of 39
  1. It's a magical film which manages to transport and rivet us in the same highly-imaginitive, breezily playful way "Amelie" did.
  2. Hauntingly tells a story older than the Odyssey and as timely as today's body count from Iraq.
  3. 100
    Unfolds amid the mechanized carnage of World War I. Yet everything in it is personal. That's why it's a masterpiece.
  4. Rapturously beautiful, startlingly audacious and often very funny, the film employs many of the techniques that were used so pleasingly in "Amélie."
  5. This is a movie that considers graphic violence with a refined taste for the sensuous: Guts spill, blood spurts, corpses stink, but there is a handsome, absurdist humanity to the way Jeunet (who wrote the script with Guillaume Laurant) maps out the crossroads of human carnage and human caring.
  6. 91
    A unique and masterful film, filled with surprises and felicities and moments of transporting visual power.
  7. Reviewed by: Michael Ferraro
    The film is near perfect in its attempt to properly mix the irrationality of war in with an interesting love story.
  8. 90
    The holiday season's best movie so far.
  9. When this long movie is over, all you want to do is clap and weep and watch it all over again immediately.
  10. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    Can a movie have too much good stuff? Not when it's stuffed like this one.
  11. Reviewed by: Lisa Nesselson
    Told with a blend of visual mastery and emotional intimacy, ambitious venture sustains a special melding of romance and pragmatism that should engage discerning audiences.
  12. In its insistence on the centrality of the war to the collective consciousness of mankind, it's of a piece with "The English Patient," rather than "Saving Private Ryan."
  13. 88
    An emotional powerhouse.
  14. 88
    Jeunet brings everything together -- his joyously poetic style, the lovable Tautou, a good story worth the telling -- into a film that is a series of pleasures stumbling over one another in their haste to delight us.
  15. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    A long movie that almost wears out its 21/4-hour welcome, yet it's full of surprises.
  16. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Flattens you with concussive detail and the awfulness of war; it plays like "Saving Private Ryan" as remade by a Continental mathematician flipping out on Ecstasy.
  17. Reviewed by: Glenn Kenny
    An epic treatment of epic themes that doesn't soft-soap its audience, but at the same time provides a terrifically satisfying entertainment.
  18. Reviewed by: Bernard Besserglik
    Jeunet provides numerous pleasures, particularly visual, along the way.
  19. Reviewed by: Ian Nathan
    Inventive and lyrical, A Very Long Engagement is a joyous contradiction in terms: a war-torn romantic comedy.
  20. A resolutely odd, occasionally absurd movie, but it's as charming and stylish as one could expect from this pair - if you like that sort of thing.
  21. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    The downside to all this stylishness: that A Very Long Engagement is Amélie Goes to War.
  22. Longer than necessary, that is, for the story it has to tell. This flaw aside, the drama is well crafted and sometimes touching, with especially forceful opening scenes.
  23. There are many ways to say that war is hell, but few filmmakers have said it with as much imagination, humor, intrigue and humanity as Jean-Pierre Jeunet in A Very Long Engagement.
  24. 75
    It's an odd, initially jarring mixture of style and subject matter that works better as the film goes along.
  25. A Very Long Engagement is "Cold Mountain" with French people.
  26. 75
    Starts slowly, but builds to a satisfying conclusion.
  27. Certainly long and not always engaging and comes with a predictably basic ending, yet there are unexpected pleasures, moments of beauty and tiny pockets of joy to sustain you through the journey.
  28. The movie works amazingly well as a historical epic.
  29. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    The film is a trifle long too long for its rather slim mystery, but in face of so much beauty and invention that's a small quibble.
  30. Mathilde's story is well enough handled by Jeunet to be endurable, and the rest of the film is a reward.
  31. 63
    It's just exhausting. For all of the movie's sumptuous, eyepopping craft, you'll feel more than a little relief when Mathilde finally reaches the end of her quest.
  32. 60
    For all of Audrey Tautou's considerable charm in the title role, Jeunet's need for a well-ordered universe proved as suffocating and exhausting as being trapped on an amusement-park ride.
  33. 60
    Boldly aspirational. It's Jeunet's stab at "Paths of Glory," dipped in a sepia bath and halfway wrenched into a women's picture.
  34. Only when Jodie Foster materializes midstory, delivering a beautiful, pocket-size performance as the mistress of one of the condemned men, does the film spring to life.
  35. Engagement simply disappears inside its own enormous, intricate and ambitious design.
  36. Sacrifices compelling drama for gratuitous whimsy and big-budget spectacle.
  37. The elements are all here for something spectacular – and in brilliant bursts, Jeunet really gets it – but in the end, all that potential is sunk by a terminally confused tone and milquetoast pairing of lovers. Pity that.
  38. 50
    Shuttles between schoolboy humor, calculated savagery and, at the end, a rank sentimentalism in which love all too easily conquers all.
  39. Reviewed by: Melissa Levine
    The result is nothing but allusive and memorial. And boring. This film is boring, at least partly because it is trying desperately to be big.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 64 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 28
  2. Negative: 1 out of 28
  1. Jun 30, 2013
    "Un long dimanche de fiançailles" has charm, gentleness and delicacy. Audrey Tautou has a epic role as Mathile, a young girl who knows her fiancĂ© is alive. Jean-Pierre Jeunet's last good film. Totally recommended! Full Review »
  2. Aug 27, 2010
    The complement of Jeunet's visual style with Tautou's quirky acting will pretty much always give an enchanting product, but in "A Very Long Engagement," the story itself is much too clunky and aloof to stay focused on. Full Review »
  3. BertiP.
    Oct 30, 2006
    A compelling film, wonderfully created, showing French cinema at its very best. It seems that some of the "American rewiews" have not understood this productions depth and style. Full Review »